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Marley's Ghost

Ghost Town – 2010 (Sage Arts)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Marley's Ghost

While country music has always been at the core of the sound of the San Francisco-based Marley's Ghost, the band also comfortably fused folk, bluegrass, Celtic and reggae into the mix. Under the guidance of producer Jack Clement, their latest effort is a more straight ahead traditional country offering.

A pair of Clement compositions highlight the disc, with an effective rendition of Got Leavin' On Her Mind , recorded by Bobby Bare and Charley Pride in the sixties, and Goin' Back To Bowling Green , featuring Clement on lead vocal.

Other notable covers are John Hartford's Here I Am In Love Again, Don Williams' Which Way Do We Go and Tim O'Brien's Less And Less . Even Warren Zevon's She's Too Good For Me has a traditional country arrangement.

The tunes that most reflect other influences are My Love Will Not Change, which has a Tex Mex feel to it, and guitarist Mike Phelan's original western swing ballad Should I Be Singing The Blues?.

The musicianship and vocals are stellar throughout with Phelan (guitars and Dobro), Dan Wheetman (banjo and bass), Jon Wilcox (mandolin), Ed Littlefield Jr. (pedal steel) and Jerry Fletcher (drums, accordion, keyboards). Guests include Billy Burnette and Shawn Camp (acoustic guitar) and Kimmie Rhodes (background vocals).

Though the selection is not as diverse as on previous releases, this entertaining collection should appeal to fans of traditional and alternative country.